PAS won’t back off, will sue Nanyang for ‘monkey’ cartoon

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PETALING JAYA: Nanyang Siang Pau has apologised for its “inappropriate cartoon” but PAS will not compromise and is still looking to sue the Chinese daily.

Its secretary-general, Takiyuddin Hassan, said the party would appoint a lawyer and take legal action against the Chinese daily as soon as possible.

He said PAS’s central committee took Nanyang’s action seriously as it was done on purpose and with the intention to insult PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia.

“PAS considers the publication, in all aspects, as intended to insult not only Hadi and Pandikar, but all Muslims and Islamic law,” he said in a statement today.

The cartoon, titled “Monkey Act”, featured two monkeys sitting on a tree named “Act 355”, in reference to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, while other monkeys fought below.

On the tree, one monkey was drawn wearing a songkok labelled “Speaker” while another labelled “Hadi Awang” wore a turban.

It was published in the newspaper two days after Hadi tabled the motion to amend Act 355 in the Dewan Rakyat. It was Hadi’s third time tabling the motion but Pandikar applied his discretion and postponed the debate to the next sitting.

Reacting to the “monkey” cartoon, a group of 150 PAS members and supporters protested outside Nanyang’s office in Petaling Jaya today. They made four demands, including that the daily publish an apology in its newspaper and issue an apology directly to Hadi and Pandikar.

PAS Youth information chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari also expressed hope that the incident would not recur as it touched on Muslim sensitivities.

Meanwhile, Takiyuddin also urged the home ministry to review Nanyang’s printing permit and take appropriate action against them.

The daily’s chief editor Chan Aun Kuang, in response, told FMT he would send a formal apology letter to Hadi and Pandikar Amin soon.

Last Thursday, Hadi tabled a motion to allow shariah offenders to be punished with a maximum of 30 years’ jail, RM100,000 in fines and 100 strokes of the cane. At present, shariah courts can impose three years’ jail, RM5,000 in fines and six strokes of the cane.